Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Medication Merry-Go-Round

Although I usually write about wellness (with some deviation), I've decided to discuss medication. As everyone who regularly reads this blog knows, I'm medication-resistant (which means the standard medications don't work for me).

Over a period of ten years, five psychiatrists prescribed 25 different medications in different combinations and different dosages, including Abilify, Adderall, Ativan, Buspar, Celexa, Concerta, Cymbalta, Depakote, Effexor, Geodon, Klonopin, Lamictal, Lexapro, Lithium, Neurontin, Parnate, Prozac, Seroquel, Strattera, Tegretol, Topamax, Trileptal, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, and Zyprexa.

And I experienced the attendant side effects, including anxiety, blurred vision, confusion, cognitive memory loss, dry mouth, hair loss, exaggerated response to stress, hand tremors, headaches, insomnia, irritability, a severe rash, shortness of breath, slowed mental functioning, slurred speech, weight gain, and so much more.

Tomorrow, I'll talk more how I feel about having been on the medication merry-go-round.

(The graphic isn't a photograph of my pills, but since I've saved all the bottles, I'll show you what I've taken tomorrow as well.)

P.S. I highly recommend Gianna's post on Bipolar Overawareness Week!

18 comments:

Coco said...

I'm looking forward to this medication discussion. It's on my mind a lot lately with me deciding against the recent Lamictal rx, after taking it a few weeks, and also trying to taper off my long-standing Effexor rx.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Coco,
I'm sure it will be a lively discussion. I just read your blog, and notice you're in a downswing. Do you realize that it could be due to trying to taper off the Effexor? From what I've read, that's a difficult drug to go off, and a friend who lowered her dosage accidentally quickly began a downward spiral!

Susan

Meredith said...

I'm looking forward to it... as long as it doesn't turn into an "ALL MEDS ARE BAD" bash-fest, because that bothers me as much as people insisting that meds are the only thing you need. So, keeping my fingers crossed that we can all be rational and truly respect each other's choices. (Says the girl on three meds who also exercises, does art therapy, meditates, etc.)

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Meredith,
I'm sure it won't turn into that because I don't believe all medications are bad. The common medications didn't work for me, but they do work for other people.

What I'm hoping for is a thoughtful discussion of what works; what doesn't; how medications have helped people; how they haven't; how they might be prescribed in a more thoughtful way, etc.

Susan
P.S. I take two medications myself (when I need them).

Tony C. said...

Hi Susan,
The recent rather nasty experiences I had with lithium and spending the previous year on the meds (less than)merry-go-round, doing untold things to my insides, makes me feel that enough is enough. I know that for many people medication works wonders, but as it looks like I am med sensitive, it seems I shall have to resort to things other than chemicals. Im not sure what yet, if anybody has any suggestions I'll listen.....

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Tony,
Duane from Recover and Discover has a huge list of resources. And I believe he helped "cure his son" with alternative medications. Gianna from http://bipolarblast:wordpress.com is trying alternatives as she goes off medication. Naturalgal is writing about this. This is a point of departure. Let me know if you need more.

Susan

P.J. said...

One comment about the Effexor - a friend of mine is on it, and has been for a while, and FORBIDS me ever start taking it because it is SO highly addictive. When she decided to stop taking them (she went cold turkey for a few days - NOT the smartest choice she made) it made her darn near crazy. She was doing wild things and her mood was all over the place. So, I agree with you Susan, the down mood could be from the tappering off Effexor. Just a thought!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to this medication examination!!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

P.J.
Thanks for your comment. While we know that different medications affect people in different ways, for some reason, Effexor seems to be one of the most difficult medications to "go off." I'm not sure why this is so, and will try to research it for Coco and others.

Susan

bart said...

thanks for taking on this subject susan... after some rather disappointing and unsettling experiences with seroxat and another of which i've forgotten the name, i've been put onto a naturopathic anti-depressant (hypericum) which seems to be working reasonably well... it doesn't kill off emotion, allows creativity to continue and leaves the abdominal functions relatively normal, which is a great relief...

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Bart,
You're welcome. I'm hoping we can all contribute to figure out how things might work more effectively, and also to learn what is helping people.

Susan

Pistol Pete said...

You & I share a lot of meds in common. I'm now up to 28 that I've tried, in combinations of 2-7.

It boggles the mind and depletes the paycheck.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Pistol Pete,
It's quite unbelievable, isn't it? I stopped trying three years ago. But, I have two medications that work when I need them.

Susan

JayPeeFreely said...

Abilify: I love the advert that says one of the side effects is "death." Death is not a side effect - permanent closure is more accurate.

If I had had as many female relationships as you've had meds, I would be considered a playa with a CAPITAL P.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear JayPeeFreely,
You always make me laugh or smile! That elicited a big laugh!

Susan

GirlBlue said...

I'm particularly looking forward to your views on depakote, I just went on this today and would love to hear first hand stories about it,

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Girlblue,
Welcome to my blog. I wasn't intending to discuss each and every medication, but perhaps if we talk about them as a group, it will work. I'll try and figure out how to do that.

Susan

GirlBlue said...

Glad to have found you :)

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Girlblue,
Thanks!